Open Forum: Discussion of Mark Solms’ presentation on “Consciousness and the Unconscious”
December meeting of the Pfeffer Center
Mark Solms gave a remarkable presentation on Saturday, October 3 at the Pfeffer Center. His tour-de-force talk included a recap of the “conscious id” proposal, based on evidence that brainstem and subcortical circuits mediate the basic emotions, instincts, and drives — and that these circuits are also critical for consciousness. Solms then moved on to discuss the “cognitive unconscious,” and the ways in which automated processes, out of awareness, allow us to devote mental resources to new challenges. The cortical circuits that underlie these automated processes also mediate the continuous calculations of predictions that allow us to navigate the world efficiently. Altogether, these dynamics are equated with ego functions, which appear to be primarily unconscious.
His talk ended with a proposal that links the dynamic unconscious with mental contents which have been automated, but which continue to trigger affect that is registered consciously. He also suggested a model for thinking about the critical role of conscious awareness in mediating change. The talk provides significant food for thought, and merits our exploring its implications further.
Members of the audience who attended this talk, as well as those who did not attend but would like to review the talk on video, are invited to come and discuss the many exciting ideas and questions which arose in its wake.
To see the talk, please visit
To see Part 1 of the lecture, click here.
To see Part 2 of the lecture, click here.
We suggest that you pick up viewing Part 1 at approximately 46:00 minutes, which is a few minutes before he launches into the exciting new material.
The discussion will be moderated by Maggie Zellner, Ph.D., L.P., and all are welcome. Please bring questions and ideas!
First come, first seated.
Please note — No CMEs or CEs are offered for this lecture.